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Decline of Bees, Other Pollinators Threatens U.S. Crop Yields

NEW RUTGERS STUDY CONNECTS DECLINE OF POLLINATORS TO YIELD SLIDE. The largest peer-reviewed public study of its type ever – led by researchers at Rutgers University – has determined that for many crops yields are already suffering due to declines already experienced in the populations of bees and other pollinators.
Research such as this study is beginning to internalize the high costs of chemical-intensive farming, costs which have customarily been externalized and excluded from consideration.
When ALL costs are considered, healthy, pro-environmental organic farming becomes the real bargain for people and the planet. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"Crop yields for apples, cherries and blueberries across the United States are being reduced by a lack of pollinators, according to Rutgers-led research, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date.

"Most of the world’s crops depend on honeybees and wild bees for pollination, so declines in both managed and wild bee populations raise concerns about food security, notes the study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

“'We found that many crops are pollination-limited, meaning crop production would be higher if crop flowers received more pollination. We also found that honey bees and wild bees provided similar amounts of pollination overall,' said senior author Rachael Winfree, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. 'Managing habitat for native bee species and/or stocking more honey bees would boost pollination levels and could increase crop production.'

"Pollination by wild and managed insects is critical for most crops, including those providing essential micronutrients, and is essential for food security, the study notes. In the U.S., the production of crops that depend on pollinators generates more than $50 billion a year. According to recent evidence, European honey bees (Apis mellifera) and some native wild bee species are in decline.

"At 131 farms across the United States and in British Columbia, Canada, scientists collected data on insect pollination of crop flowers and yield for apples, highbush blueberries, sweet cherries, tart cherries, almond, watermelon and pumpkin. Of those, apples, sweet cherries, tart cherries and blueberries showed evidence of being limited by pollination, indicating that yields are currently lower than they would be with full pollination. Wild bees and honey bees provided similar amounts of pollination for most crops."

Decline of Bees, Other Pollinators Threatens U.S. Crop Yields

Rutgers is open and operating. The university has moved to remote instruction, with the exception of clinical instruction. All library services are now online only. Some services and facilities may not be operating.


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16 Row Massive Potato Harvest with John Deere and Spudnik


ULTRA-MECHANIZED CAPITAL-INTENSIVE POTATO FARMING IS BECOMING THE NEW NORM. Potato farming is a mature industry. Tight profit margins have propelled farmers into mechanization overdrive in an effort to lower the unit costs of production.
The result has been steady concentration with fewer and fewer operations growing more and more acres of potatoes.
This now five-year-old harvest video (4:28) features Taylor Farms in Idaho Falls. They use Spudnik equipment pulled by John Deere tractors and harvest 16 rows per pass, or about 400-450 acres per day. Caleb, Megan & Jim




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Thirteen People Who Had Foreknowledge of JFK’s Assassination

"THIRTEEN PEOPLE WHO HAD FOREKNOWLEDGE OF JFK'S ASSASSINATION." The assassination of President John Kennedy remains one of the great mysteries of our time.
JFK assassination investigator J.L. Pattison has compiled a fascinating collection about these 13 documented individuals who had foreknowledge about "one of America’s most heinous crimes and its subsequent cover up, along with the countless geopolitical ramifications this brazen coup d’état spawned."
And you may be surprised as to learn the identity of Person #13. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"One of the many fascinating discoveries uncovered by independent researchers in the nearly 60 years of investigation into the murder of President John F. Kennedy, is the revelation that numerous people had foreknowledge of the assassination.

"Why this is so remarkable is because we’ve been programmed since grade school to believe that President Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and no one else was involved…

"Unfortunately the world never got an opportunity to hear what else Oswald knew because he was quickly—and conveniently—silenced by a single gunshot while in police custody by a man who would also publicly reveal that a conspiracy was behind the assassination. That man, Jack Ruby, admitted to reporters that there were more people involved in the assassination when he said, 'The people that had so much to gain and had such an ulterior motive for putting me in the position I’m in, will never let the true facts come above board to the world.' One of the reporters then asked Ruby, “Are these people in very high positions, Jack?” Ruby simply but firmly responded, 'Yes'…

"The official government narrative (regurgitated ad nauseam by the mainstream media) is that Oswald was the sole 'lone nut' assassin who just happened to be aided by a combination of prodigiously fortuitous luck as well as a long chain of innumerable coincidences. But there’s more to this story. Much, much more.

"The following thirteen incidents highlight the accounts of those who knew about JFK’s assassination before it happened, thus rending the official storyline of 'Oswald acted alone' as complete rubbish (if Oswald even 'acted' at all). There’s no doubt that there are many more people who knew beforehand about the plot to kill JFK than are listed below, but the following stories are the ones that are documented and on the record."

Thirteen People Who Had Foreknowledge of JFK’s Assassination

The Thirteen People Who Knew About President Kennedy’s Assassination Before It Happened


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536 AD — the worst year in history

"536 AD – THE WORST YEAR IN HISTORY." Times are tough but it could be worse. Like maybe 536 AD which historians have given harsh reviews. Jim

"…historians are unanimous in their choice. The title of the worst year in history is easily held by the year 536 AD.

"Medieval historian, Michael McCormick has stated that 'it was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year.' (Science Magazine, Ann Gibbons, 2018).

"The year began with an inexplicable, dense fog that stretched across the world which plunged Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia into darkness 24 hours a day, for nearly 2 years.

"Consequently, global temperatures plummeted which resulted in the coldest decade in over 2,000 years. Famine was rampant and crops failed all across Europe, Africa and Asia…

"…a volcanic eruption in Iceland in early 536 led to incredibly large quantities of ash being spread across much of the globe, creating the fog that cast the world into darkness. This eruption was so immense that it altered the global climate and adversely affected weather patterns and crop cultivation for years to come (Antiquity)."

536 AD — the worst year in history

Scholars and researchers agree on the year that was worse than any other


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Small farmers left behind in COVID-19 relief package

SAME OLD SAME OLD: "SMALL FARMERS LEFT BEHIND IN COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE. This report from 'NBC News' details the USDA predilection towards advantaging corporate farms, despite empty assurances of USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue who said "its $16 billion in direct payments would be a 'lifeline' for farmers of 'all sizes and all … production.'" Caleb, Megan & Jim

"In March, Congress authorized a multibillion-dollar bailout for farms suffering losses because of the coronavirus pandemic and left the Agriculture Department to work out how the money would be spent…

"But that's not what happened, according to an NBC News analysis of the first nearly 700,000 payments, totaling $5.6 billion, obtained through a public records request. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, while greatly appreciated by many farmers, has been marked by structural challenges. The preliminary data suggest that it has favored large, industrialized farms over smaller, diversified ones, provided loopholes for corporate farms and sent sizable payments to foreign-owned operations. Ultimately, many struggling farmers remain ineligible for assistance, unable to get access to any of Congress' funds.

"The uneven distribution is stark. The top 1 percent of recipients got more than 20 percent of the money, totaling $1.2 billion. The top 10 percent got over 60 percent of the pot, while the bottom 10 percent got just 0.26 percent. The top 10 percent of recipients got average payments of almost $95,000, while the bottom 10 percent averaged around $300…

"Nearly 2,300 operations received more than $250,000, which was set as the payment limit for a single farm. But the rules gave corporate farms ways to get more money. For example, the Agriculture Department allows farms to get up to $750,000 if three shareholders each spent more than 400 hours working in the business. Experts also say there is no real payment limit for farms structured as 'general partnerships,' because of a long-standing loophole in farm subsidy policy. That's presumably how Titan Swine, a hog farming partnership of 20-plus independent producers in northwest Iowa, got over $2.5 million in taxpayer cash and five other farms got $1 million or more."

Small farmers left behind in COVID-19 relief package

The uneven distribution of funds is stark. The top 10 percent got over 60 percent of the pot, while the bottom 10 percent got just 0.26 percent.


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What Public Investors are Telling Us → Your Weekly Organic Insider – Organic Insider

WALL STREET BULLISH ON ORGANIC. 'Vital Farms' – Texas-based producer of organic and pasture-raised eggs – recent initial-public-offering (IPO) offers a glimpse into Wall Street's view of the future of the organic market. IWall Street is bullish on organic. Max Goldberg reports the story in the new 'Organic Insider.'
Goldman Sacs and Morgan Stanley are not romantics but high flying investment banks which analyze trends and opportunities for future growth and profits.
This may come as a shock to Industrial-Ag-captured USDA, but organic is the future. Caleb, Megan and Jim

"Vital Farms, a Texas-based producer of pasture-raised and organic eggs, filed to raise approximately $125M, with an IPO range between $15 and $17 per share. With demand so strong, the Wall Street investment banks underwriting the deal, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, decided to push that range up and eventually priced the deal at $22 per share, which netted the company $205M in proceeds.

"At the end of the first day of trading, shares closed at $35.26, a gain of 60%, giving the company a valuation of $1.38 billion. It closed today at $36.45, which implies a $1.42 billion market capitalization.

"Let’s put this $1.4B market cap in perspective, comparing the company’s 2019 price-to-earnings multiple to that of the S&P 500, one of the most commonly followed equity indices and one of the best representations of the U.S. stock market.

"In 2019, Vital Farms had revenues of $141M with net income of $3.3M. That means the company is trading at 431x 2019 net income. In contrast, the S&P 500 is trading at 20.7x 2019 earnings. Vital Farms is trading at a significant premium to the S&P 500, and industry experts believe that scarcity is one reason for this."

What Public Investors are Telling Us → Your Weekly Organic Insider – Organic Insider

By all measures, the Vital Farms IPO is a very positive sign.


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Image: Organic Logos and Label Requirements – MOFGA Certification Services

USDA DEFIES CONGRESS AND UNILATERALLY CUTS REIMBURSEMENT RATES TO FARMERS FOR ORGANIC CERTIFICATION. In October 2002 USDA formally began regulation of the organic industry. As an element of its control over organic, USDA made it mandatory that EVERY farmer using the regulated word "Organic" MUST become Certified Organic by a USDA- Accredited Certifying Agency (here in Maine we have been Certified Organic by USDA-ACA MOFGA for 38 years).
Because organic farmers are involuntarily forced to be Certified Organic, it has been fair – and there has been an on-going compromise – that USDA help organic family farmers pay for the cost of mandatory organic certification. In the 2018 Farm Bill Congress set the cost share at 75% USDA / 25% Farmer with certain additional ceilings in effect.
On Monday, in defiance of the law, USDA capriciously dropped its reimbursement share to 50%.
USDA's long-held hatred of organic and strong bias against family farmers is coming through loud-and-clear. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic virtually NO organic farmers have benefited from federal bailout programs. As is typical with USDA, most of the emergency funds have been channeled to the largest corporate operations.
You can help organic farmers by contacting your members of Congress and asking them to make USDA obey the law and comply with full Congressionally mandated reimbursement rates. This article contains good background info.Thanks! Caleb, Megan & Jim http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render…

"USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced yesterday that they would be reducing reimbursement rates for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program from 75 percent to 50 percent, despite the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress clearly setting the reimbursement rates at 75 percent. This is a huge blow to organic producers who rely on this funding, especially as farmers are still dealing with the pandemic and loss of markets. In 2018, 360 operations in Maine received $253,900 in cost share reimbursements…

"In addition, the FSA has done a huge disservice to the organic community in this time of crisis by delaying the release of funds by many months while organic operations struggle to stay in business as they weather a pandemic and loss of markets. Organic, direct market, and diversified operations have largely been excluded from existing USDA pandemic relief programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, while the top 1 percent of recipients got more than 20 percent of the money, totaling $1.2 billion."

Image: Organic Logos and Label Requirements – MOFGA Certification Services

Found on Google from mofgacertification.org


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Um, why is there a gigantic black cloud circling the globe?

EXPLANATION OF THE 'GIGANTIC BLACK CLOUD' WHICH IS CIRCLING THE GLOBE. The huge black cloud was generated by the recent destructive and widespread fires in Australia and occupies an area half the size of Canada. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"One of the largest fire clouds ever recorded has been drifting around the Southern Hemisphere for over a month. Heat and freak thunderstorms generated by Australia’s massive wildfires sent ash and toxic materials high into the atmosphere, where they formed a massive dark cloud of debris. It’s been measured at 15 miles high at some points, and at one point it covered more than 1 million square miles — about half the size of Canada."

Um, why is there a gigantic black cloud circling the globe?

Australia’s epic wildfires — along with freak thunderstorms — rocketed dust particles and ash 15 miles into the atmosphere. The massive 'fire cloud' is drifting around the Pacific Ocean.


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New Zealand has gone 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19

NEW ZEALAND HAS GONE 100 DAYS WITHOUT A SINGLE CASE OF COVID-19. With great beauty and populated with good-thinking people, New Zealand has a lot going for it. Their enviable position includes a much more responsive government which is led by a top notch Prime Minister.
We would do well to learn from our friends in New Zealand. Caleb, Megan & Jim

"New Zealand, Fiji, and Taiwan are among a handful of nations worldwide that have managed to last 100 days without a recorded case of COVID-19 through community transmission…

"From the first known case in New Zealand on February 26 to the last case of community transmission detected on May 1, elimination took 65 days, according to the New Zealand Herald. New Zealand’s number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains at 1,219…

"New Zealand relied on three types of measures to get rid of the virus including lockdown and social distancing to stop community transmission, border controls to stop the virus from entering the country, as well as case-based controls using testing, contact tracing, and quarantine."

New Zealand has gone 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19

New Zealand, Fiji, Vietnam, and Taiwan are among a handful of nations worldwide that have managed to last 100 days without a recorded case of COVID-19 through community transmission.


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The Financialization of the American Elite – American Affairs Journal

"THE FINANCIALIZATION OF THE AMERICAN ELITE." This valuable 'American Affairs' article from last year by Harvard Business School graduate Sam Long helps explain tectonic changes in the financial sector over recent decades which has had the nasty impact of increasing American wealth and income inequality.
If we're going to fix the problem we have to understand it first. Jim

"…a closer look at Klarman’s remarks, as well as the origins and trajectory of his career, suggests a deeply flawed messenger. Indeed, Klarman’s story provides an interesting window through which to understand much of what afflicts our economy and society today.

"A considerable amount has been written about the financialization of the American economy. Less understood is the financialization of America’s business talent. Klarman, his alma mater, and its peer institutions are all part of this story. What we confront today—a business elite dominated by financiers and their squires, presiding over a disordered economy gutted of both its productive energy and the ability to generate mass prosperity—is a direct result of this economic and cultural evolution…

"…the shareholder primacy movement proved lucrative to a wave of CEOs in the early 1990s whose compensation was tied to stock price. In 1990, Jensen published another landmark article, this time in the Harvard Business Review. Jensen asserted that corporate performance could be improved by using stock options to compensate CEOs and further align their interests with those of shareholders. The result, coupled with a 1993 tax law that increased the cost-effectiveness of compensating management with equity, has been twenty-five years of skyrocketing executive pay…

"The new elite also applied their ample talent and superior educa­tion to devising financial mechanisms and 'business strategies' that captured increasing percentages of their companies’ revenues. They discovered financial engineering techniques to boost stock values without growing earnings or investing in productive assets. Bankers and consultants helped shareholders and boards value, measure, and optimize their equity, which often led to decisions to offshore jobs or purposefully reallocate capital away from asset-intensive industries that employed millions of middle-class Americans…

"…Within the economy, the finan­cial sector’s contribution to GDP now approaches 10 percent, more than triple what it was in 1950.

"The consequences have damaged the long-term health of the American economy and hindered its ability to create prosperity and offer opportunities for social mobility…

"Related to this shift in sectoral balances is both a shameful level of inequality and historically weak economic performance and produc­tivity growth…We live in the richest society in the history of mankind, but as the Federal Reserve report­ed earlier this year, 40 percent of Americans would be unable to fund the costs of a $400 emergency from their savings…

"…Given that 50 percent of Americans own no stocks, the wealthiest 10 percent own 80 percent of the country’s stocks, and the top 1 percent own almost 40 percent of the country’s equities, the benefits of this financially engineered asset price inflation have flowed almost entirely to the largest capital holders…

"The impact is not merely economic. The cultural and political consequences of shareholder primacy have undermined our social cohesion…

"It was not always this way. If the class of ’82 represents the wealth and success achieved by the shareholder primacy generation, another HBS class tells the story of a different era.

"In 1974, Fortune published a profile of the HBS class of 1949 on the twenty-fifth anniversary of its graduation. As a cohort, its mem­bers had achieved fantastic financial success: one in five were mil­lionaires in 1974 dollars. Fortune’s editors titled their profile “The Class the Dollars Fell Upon,” and the nickname stuck.28

"By 1974 approximately 45 percent of the class held the position of CEO or COO…

"While their wealth, professional success, and acclaim drive the comparison to the 82ers, it is the difference in how the two classes made their money that is striking. The young Americans who ma­triculated at HBS in the years after the war found an institution that sought to instill in its graduates a sense of noblesse oblige, despite the fact that few of them had any blue blood to speak of. They had been given an unprecedented opportunity, and much was expected of them…

"At bottom, when many of our country’s wealthy citizens say 'democracy,' what they really mean is 'our class’s way of life.' If they respected democracy as fervently as they worship the 'invisible hand,' they would see that the popular discontent simmering across the world today is the direct result of decades of elite hypocrisy and greed, hidden behind a façade of neoliberal economics…

"These are the same people who have left us with an upside-down economy and a weakened social fabric. Income inequality, financialization, and a socially inefficient distribution of both capital and tal­ent are the legacies of shareholder capitalism. Although these elites now mourn the erosion of the political 'center,' they actively par­ticipated in the erosion of the American middle class. To add insult to injury, they insist on telling us elaborate stories about their entrepreneurial spirit and good intentions, and invite us to celebrate their virtue when they give back a tiny share of their captured wealth.

"Encouraged by academics like Porter and Jensen, and the univer­sities at which they preach, this elite now purports to know how to fix our politics. Given their track record, we would be foolish to listen."

The Financialization of the American Elite – American Affairs Journal

On October 1, 2018, the newly christened Klarman Hall opened to much acclaim on the campus of Harvard Business School. The stunning $120 million building houses a conference center as well as a gleaming auditorium built around a 32-million-pixel, 1,250-square-foot video wall and a state-of-the-art,….


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